Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 – Feb. 17 – Treating Cause and Effect with Caution

Study from Deuteronomy 9 – 11; Passage for Reflection: Deut. 9: 6 … NIV Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.

My Journal for Today: I hope you’ve read through Deuteronomy, Chapters 9 – 11, or you know its contents well; because when you read/meditate on the instructions that Moses is giving to God’s “stiff-necked,” fickle, and often foolish people, the Israelites (especially knowing, from God’s word, where they are going mess-up over and over again), one has to feel like poor Moses, as a leader of God’s people, has been given a poor cohort of followers to let Joshua lead them across the Jordan and to take possession of that “Promised Land,” to which God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their progeny. But in what Moses is saying to the Jewish nation, we have some principles which we need to understand and to apply in our lives.

The first is that God is a merciful God, slow to anger and completely bound to His covenant promises. So, if God has promised something to us as believers today, we can expect that He will carry out His part of that covenant. And the biggest of those promises is wrapped up in the promise of eternal salvation for anyone who believes in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and is willing to surrender his/her life to the Lordship of The Christ. If you have done that, God, as He has promised by His word, will deliver; and by His grace, He will give you eternal life [and you know of that from John 3: 16 and Romans 10: 9 – 13].

With that said, then, like with the “stiff-necked” Jewish people, we must realize that nothing we can, or will do, can earn anything more than what God has promised. So, if we do a lot of good stuff, as born-again Christians, we cannot expect God to “pay off” with anything more than He has already delivered on the cross by Christ’s blood sacrifice. So, all I need to know is that God’s grace is sufficient for my life (see 2nd Cor. 12: 9); and that what I do in this life is merely preparation for my life in heaven. Yes, I should be seeking to glorify my Lord with my good works; but I’m not doing that to earn a bunch of good things in this life. What I do – i.e., good works in His Name – are simply a reflection of God’s grace working itself out in my life (see Eph. 2: 10 as a result of Eph. 2: 8 – 9). And by my works, may He be glorified.

We need to remember that we’re never as good as we think we are; and God is always better than we can imagine Him to be. As Moses warned God’s children, those warnings apply to you and me as well; and if we have some foolish notion that we can – in these New Covenant times – ignore the realities of our obedience to the Law, we are no better … and probably a lot worse … than the “stiff-necked” Jews to whom Moses was addressing for God in today’s readings.

I pray that we all can keep our works in perspective and in the context of God’s grace through the completed sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, You did it all for me on the cross. May I do it all for You in this life as I prepare for the next. Amen

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